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Maria Conchita Alonso,
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A woman leaves an abusive relationship to begin a new life in a new city, where she forms an unlikely and ironic relationship with a suicidal hit man (unbeknownst to her). Enter a worn, alcoholic detective to form the third party in a very unusual triangle as this story begins to unfold. Written by
The Merry Gentleman (Dir: Michael Keaton): The word on the "street" (or shuttle) was "eh" for Keaton's directorial debut, as it was for other gems like "Quid Pro Quo" and "The Escapist". That's too bad, especially considering hot tickets like "The Great Buck Howard" were underwhelming compared to the lower-profile films. The Merry Gentleman is slow paced, yes, but that's an attribute. Keaton doesn't rush anything in his story of a lonely young woman (Kelly McDonald) who is the locus of desire for several men, including her ex-husband (a great Bobby Cannavale), an alcoholic cop, and a suicidal hit-man (Keaton). He honors the complexity of the situation with an ending as open ended as it is authentic. It is a glowingly photographed, impeccably performed magical realist drama, one that I'm glad exists in a market where it cannot thrive (just like the best Alan Rudolph films). Taking place during two of the loneliest holidays (Christmas and Valentine's day), The Merry Gentleman is also a great religious film, movingly detailing McDonald's faith as she in turn becomes a figure of worship for men with a variety of intentions. It even ends with a resurrection. As a primer on our ability to "save" each other, this is nothing less than rapturous, and Keaton infuses the frame with snow, fluorescent light, and human encounters that match the melancholic beauty of the frame. With Game 6 and this film, Keaton has proved to be one of our most reliable and literate actors. He is also a knockout director. ****
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